FREE image of History of Chandra X-Ray Observatory
This is a computer rendering of the fully developed Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO), formerly Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF), in orbit in a star field. In 1999, the AXAF was renamed the CXO in honor of the late Indian-American Novel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. The CXO is the most sophisticated and the world's most powerful x-ray telescope ever built. It is designed to observe x-rays from high energy regions of the Universe, such as hot gas in the renmants of exploded stars. It produces picture-like images of x-ray emissions analogous to those made in visible light, as well as gathers data on the chemical composition of x-ray radiating objects. The CXO helps astronomers world-wide better understand the structure and evolution of the universe by studying powerful sources of x-rays such as exploding stars, matter falling into black holes, and other exotic celestial objects. The Observatory has three major parts: (1) the x-ray telescope, whose mirrors will focus x-rays from celestial objects; (2) the science instruments that record the x-rays so that x-ray images can be produced and analyzed; and (3) the spacecraft, which provides the environment necessary for the telescope and the instruments to work. TRW, Inc. Was the prime contractor for the development of the CXO and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center was responsible for its project management. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science and flight operations of the CXO for NASA from Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Observatory was launched July 22, 1999 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-93 mission. (Image courtesy of TRW).
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